Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Island Tour Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from when we took Missy, Cliff and Jesse around the island last week. There are some pictures of the old Spanish administration building in Hagatna and then some pictures from a drive around the Southern end of the island. Cliff enjoyed seeing the WW2 guns and everyone enjoyed our warm water. Come visit us and you can get the same tour...

There are still a few guns left from the battlefield site in Agat.

Everyone who visits us gets to have their picture taken with us at Ceti Bay. I still think this is one of the most beautiful spots on Guam.

We also had to head down to Fort Soledad so Missy and Cliff could ride the carabao. For more info about this site see here.

Then everyone else had to get a ride too. The carabao seemed to really enjoy eating the star apples.

We visited the statue of "Our Lady of Camarin." Oral tradition relates that Santa Marian Kamalen, Patroness of the Marianas islands, floated into the shores of Merizo escorted by two crabs with lit votive candles on their backs over 340 years ago. 

The trip is not complete without a swim in the Inarajan pools. Here Jesse impresses with his diving skills. 


Another event in our busy first week of school was a visit from the VP of Institutional Compliance of TRACS (the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, the national accrediting organization that provides us with accredited status), Dr. Tanmay Pramanik. Dr. Pramanik is new to TRACS. I met him for the first time at the November conference. The purpose of his trip was for him to get better acquainted with PIU and to go over, with us, our applications for accrediting our new Scuba Diving Certificate and our AA and BA degree programs in Liberal Studies. In addition Dr. Pramanik looked at our revised long term plans for expansion and some of our possible sites for relocation and expansion of our campus. It was great to get to know him on a professional and personal basis. He spoke in our opening chapel and our administration, faculty and students had a chance to sit, eat lunch and talk with him. We also got to take him to Chamorro Village on the last night he was here. We were encouraged by his appraisal of our school and the proposed new programs, and are looking forward to TRACS approval of the new programs. TRACS has been a good partner with us since 1999.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Theological Discussion with Titus

My 4 year old grandson Titus and his sister Courage spent the day with us today. This afternoon we were watching a biblical themed show on the Discovery Channel together and it got us into the following discussion....

Titus: God is an angel. How did God get to be an angel?

Me: God is not an angel. The angels work for God.

Titus: Yes he is. My dad and I talked last night and he told me that God is an angel.

Me: Are you sure that it was your dad said?

Titus: Yes he told me that.

Titus: Grandpa are you going to die soon?

Me: Why do you ask that?

Titus: Because when you get old you run out of life.

Me: I think I have some life left.

Titus: You don't have as much life left as me.

Me: You are right about that.

I am co-teaching a class with Mike right now. I may wait a little while to add Titus to the faculty.

Joyce's Birthday Celebration

Here are a few pictures from Joyce's birthday celebration last week. We had lunch at Jeff's Pirate Cove and then came to our house for cake, ice cream and strawberries. The funny thing is that I have a lot of pictures of the family celebrating her birthday but not too many of Joyce.Here Ben and Missy don't seem too unhappy to be stranded on Guam.

Before we went out to lunch Joyce. Missy and Cliff made another trip to the beach, even though we have been having a winter chill down in the low 80's.

The lunch at Jeff's Pirate Cove was excellent and we finally took a picture of the fish sandwich.

Courage insisted that we take her picture several times with the pirate mural.

As you can see from the picture it was a pretty breezy day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Week of the Semester

Classes have started at PIU  for the Spring 2011 semester. We are actually into the second week of the semester now. We have new students, new staff (Sarah Cain our new media person who is here for the next few weeks took all the photos that are in this post - you may have noticed the increased quality of the photos over what is usually here! :) and we are starting new classes. We are looking forward to what God will do here this semester!

The best thing about the new semester is that the students are back. We lost a few due to graduation (yea!) and to other reasons (sad!) but our student numbers are about the same this semester as last. We have several new students and are looking forward to getting to know them a little better.

It is also great to get back into the routine of going to chapel. I enjoy having to take a full hour twice during my busy week to worship, focus on God and be encouraged from the Word and the fellowship of the students. We had two especially good chapels for the first week. On Tuesday, Dr. Tanmay Pramanik from TRACS spoke on the urgency of spreading the good news of God's Kingdom by our words and actions. On Friday, Jake Ngiraiblosch, a Palauan pastor from Susanville and father of PIU student Lindsey encouraged us with his testimony of how God took someone who was "imperfect and worthless" and used him for great things. Jake was one of my students in Palau back in 1985 and I am really blessed to be partnering with him now in ministry. The VOM also provided some music for us.

I also could not resist the temptation to include a few pictures of my family that Sarah shot. Our grand-kids enjoy being on the campus almost every day to play with the other campus kids and they enjoy hanging out with the college kids too. I enjoy the family atmosphere we have on campus with so many kids running around.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Missy and Cliff Arrive on Guam

Last Sunday (the 16th) we welcomed our daughter Missy and her husband Cliff to Guam. Since Missy was born and grew up on Guam, it was a homecoming for her, but it was the first time Cliff had ever been here. After a couple days here Cliff said that Guam was not what he expected. I think some people think that, since we are a tropical island we wear grass skirts and live in grass huts and, on the other extreme, since we are a US territory and have two large US military bases, that we are just like the US Mainland. Cliff knew better than that since Missy has been telling him about Guam for a long time, but I think he was amazed by the beauty, the various cultures and the variety of things to do here. I think both Cliff and Missy enjoyed our tropical temperatures after leaving Dallas in the low 20's. When they got out of the airport the first thing they had to do was strip off winter coats and hats. After this picture was taken it was pretty much shorts and zorries for them for the rest of the week.

Since Missy and Cliff are hardcore Pittsburgh Steelers fans the first thing we had to on Sunday, when they woke up (after arriving at 2.00 AM), was watch the Steelers playoff game. They enjoyed watching the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens. As you can see they brought their jerseys and they worked hard to cheer their team on to victory. Neither one of them actually sits down to watch the game.

That afternoon we also celebrated another Christmas so that we could exchange presents. Mike, Samantha and the kids came over to make it another family Christmas with turkey dinner and everything. We already had gotten rid of the tree but we still had a lot of the decorations up. Note the nice Guam bag that Mike and Sam wrapped Cliff and Missy's present in.

Here Titus helps Missy get another present open. We had a great week with them and I will be posting a few more pictures of the week's events. In addition, this was the first week of the new school semester (will make a couple posts on that too) so we were balancing work responsibilities with showing Missy and Cliff around the island.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some Recent OOG's

Anyone who has spent much time on Guam knows that an "OOG," "only on Guam" describes the events, sometimes maddening and sometimes very cool, but always interesting, that are somewhat unique to Guam. We had a few of these this past week.

Thursday, a large area of Hagatna, the capitol of Guam, was shut down because "a 4-foot-long, 350-pound World War II-era bomb, was uncovered at a construction site next to the Mobil station on Route 4." An area of about a 2500 feet radius around the bomb was evacuated and then the bomb was blown up and defused. For an article about this in the Guam Pacific Daily News see here. Our TRACS representative, who was visiting us last week, was eating breakfast at Shirley's and was part of the evacuation. Though the explosion was heard in the surrounding villages, we were far enough away that didn't hear anything at PIU. WWII explosives are still occasionally found on Guam and need to be disposed of. I will never forget when two bombs were exploded very near our house in Yigo on Marine Drive back in the mid 1990's. The explosions shook the house and dust flew into the air off of the louvers on our windows. You never know what you will find on Guam when you dig a hole.

We have been having some unseasonable rain here for January. On Guam, when you have rain you will also always have ants in the house. There seems to be nothing you can do to keep them out. Dr. Pramanik, our TRACS rep, reported to me that he had ants in his 3rd floor hotel room. We have had to make a repair call to Guam Telephone several times since we have lived in our present home for them to clean the ants out of our telephone box. But last week I found ants in an even more unusual place. We have a USB port on the dash of our car that we use to play music and it stopped working. When I pulled it out to look at it a stream of ants came out. Fortunately, the port itself was not damaged but the 8gb flash drive is now defective and unusable. I wonder if ant damage is covered in the warranty?

One more fun OOG. It is somewhat rare to see a monitor lizard in the wild on Guam, but we now have one living in the jungle next to our house and it seems to enjoy sunning itself in our backyard. Our daughter Missy and new husband, Cliff came to visit last week (more on that in posts in the near future) and Cliff was hoping to see a monitor lizard. I told him not to expect to see one in the wild. But in the week they were here, he saw a couple of them in captivity and then we saw two in the wild yesterday at the Two Lover's Point Park. The lizard on the left is a pet that we saw at Chamorro Village. On the right is a picture of one of them that we saw yesterday. Can you find him on the rock? In addition to that we saw a large turtle swimming in the ocean while we were at Two Lover's Point. I have seen them in the wild in Palau and Chuuk but never on Guam.

Though the weather is pretty much the same here every day - high in the mid-80's and low in the upper 70's with chance of rain or chance of sun - you never know what might happen or what you might see on Guam.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cousin Jesse Hartt is Here

We are enjoying have our nephew Jesse Hartt here on Guam with us. Jesse arrived last week and will be a resident student at PIU this semester. He is in the Bible Certificate program and plans to stay at least one semester so that he can take some classes in PIU's unique cross-cultural island environment. He says that he is enjoying his first week of classes and getting to know his fellow students. This morning he went out into the water for his first PIU SCUBA diving class. He also  says that he likes Guam because he doesn't "feel so short." It was fun to have him here to celebrate Joyce's birthday last night too.

Jesse has already enjoyed the unique Guam experience of riding a carabao.

Happy Birthday to Joyce

Today (January 21) my lovely wife turns XX years old. She has been enjoying the day with Missy and Cliff, Michael and his family and nephews Jesse and Ben. (and me too) Someone asked Michael the other day to do a devotional for the men's dorm this week about "relationships" and he asked me about it. I said that my main advice would be to "find a good woman and stay with her." That is what I did and I am ever thankful for that and for her! Happy Birthday Joyce!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Last Post About our Christmas Vacation

The night before Matt, Kristin and Milo left we headed down to Tumon to eat at Matt's favorite restaurant on Guam - the Jamaican Grill - and see the Guam Christmas lights one more time. We had a tasty family plate at Jamaican Grill which included Jamaican chicken, ribs, spicy fish, keleguen and Jamaican and Guam red rice. We also enjoyed a few glasses of mango tea. After dinner we walked down the Tumon strip to see the lights and pose with another interesting gentleman who had just begun his vacation.

"Cousin Ben" our nephew, had just returned from the PIU mission trip to Saipan and joined us for the outing. Joyce gave him the very "special" present that she bought for him - an Elmo costume. He didn't wear it down to Tumon. We are very thankful for what God has been doing in Ben's life this past year and for the big help he has been to our ministry. 

We enjoyed the (in some ways a little bizarre) Tumon Christmas display. Here Joyce poses with the "caretakers of the Christmas candy garden."

Samantha and Serenity pose with a bit more famous couple

Serenity and Titus were able to really participate in the Christmas story. We did replace the original plastic baby Jesus before we left

Milo enjoyed playing with Santa's reindeer

Joyce made the most of Milo's last night on Guam. It was so fun getting to know him better, but boy do we miss him. Courage told her mom and dad, "I really miss my cousin, Milo."

After our tour we headed home for two more Owen Christmas family traditions: burning the Christmas tree and a late-night game of dominoes. Oddly, though we poured gasoline on the tree, it didn't fully burn. Maybe I was allergic to the fire retardant on the tree and not the tree itself. It did give off a lovely flame though.  As usual Joyce won the late-night domino game. (I don't know why the picture is turned 90 degrees)

A Day on the South End of Guam

Matt and his family went back to San Diego last weekend and both Joyce and I are back to work. I started back in the office at PIU on Monday, working on getting ready for the upcoming semester, and Joyce went back to work at the Guam Japanese School today (more on both of these in upcoming posts). However, I do have a few more pictures from our vacation time and thought I would post them today. A couple days after Christmas we headed down to the Southern end of Guam. Many of the most beautiful sites on the island are there. Everyone wanted to take a swim at the Inarajan pools and then stop for a bite to eat at Jeff's Pirate Cove. Here are a few pictures of a nice relaxing day on Guam.

One of our kids' favorite places to go on Guam is the Inarajan Pools. It has a nice shallow tide pool that is full of all kinds of fish and has a beautiful view of the reef. But I think this diving platform is the main reason they like it so much.

The Japanese tourists cheered when Michael jumped off the platform holding Titus and Courage. 

Matt and Milo enjoyed a swim in the pool

After an afternoon of swimming and diving we headed over to Jeff's Pirate Cove to eat. Jeff's has one of the best fresh fish sandwiches on the island. Milo enjoyed his soft-serve ice cream.

Matt, Kristin and Milo pose in front of the pirate mural. This is part of the museum at JPC. They also have a large gift shop and there is an ifil wood carver across the street. We spent a couple hours there and had plenty to do and see.